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Physical geocaches prohibited in ABDSP?


M2
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This was posted in the log of a cache on my watch list. As far as I know, this is a new policy. Does anybody know the background on this?

 

============================================================

December 26

This cache has been removed. See below. By order of the:

 

Superintendent

 

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

 

Colorado Desert District

 

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY

 

Numerous geocaches have been placed within the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park without authorization. No consideration was given to resource sensitivity in the placement of any of these geocaches, and many have been discovered in very sensitive locales. Caches have been removed from archeological sites, paleontological areas, bighorn sheep watering sites and in sensitive caves.

 

All physical geocaches placed within Anza-Borrego Desert State Park must be removed. If the cache owner does not take responsibility for removing his/her own cache, it will be removed for them and it will not be returned.

 

As of this date, December 21, 2007, placement of new physical caches will be prohibited in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Virtual Earth Caches will be considered on a case by case basis and must be approved before being published on the Geocaching.com website.

 

Contact information for Earth cache approval:

 

Mark C. Jorgensen

Superintendent

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

200 Palm Canyon Drive

Borrego Springs, CA 92004

Edited by M2
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...No consideration was given to resource sensitivity in the placement of any of these geocaches...

 

That's a by definition thing. Sensitive resources are generally not advertised as such. Thus hikers, walkers, park visitors, and yes even geocachers go about their lives in oblivion exactly as the park and lawmakers intended. Holding it against those same people who the policy has kept uninformed is entirely optional.

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When I saw that Archive note on "Luckey Duckey 13," I was worried about something like this . . . :rolleyes: Why were Geocachers blamed for what supposedly happened "near" that cache? Very sad! :(

 

That's simple. If you look and a cache is nearby, it's easy to blame the cache. It's there. You can't see nearly as clearly that hikers, vandals, destructive teens, and dumb a** employees have been there. They come they go. The cache stands vigil and takes the blame.

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When I saw that Archive note on "Luckey Duckey 13," I was worried about something like this . . . :( Why were Geocachers blamed for what supposedly happened "near" that cache? Very sad! :)
What happened?

 

Who digs holes searching for Geocaches?!?!?!

 

Hmmm.... Have you looked at your Avatar lately???? :rolleyes::lol::lol:

 

2b6c8416-20c2-4fd8-9374-9742681c0401.jpg

Edited by ThePolarBear
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When I saw that Archive note on "Luckey Duckey 13," I was worried about something like this . . . :( Why were Geocachers blamed for what supposedly happened "near" that cache? Very sad! :)
What happened?

 

Who digs holes searching for Geocaches?!?!?!

 

Hmmm.... Have you looked at your Avatar lately???? :rolleyes::lol::lol:

 

2b6c8416-20c2-4fd8-9374-9742681c0401.jpg

 

Hey........ That hole was there when I got there......

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Our Peace,Espavo cache just got that notice and was removed. I wish we would have had notice and we would have removed it. That was a special cache that our family placed that was undisturbed since 2003! When we placed it we took care to look around and see that it was not near anything we thought was sensitive. Oh well. We were told that it wasn't about the cache placement per say, but just the fact that it was there and that the rules are that no physical caches are allowed!!! What??? We were also told that we have no way of knowing if an area is considered sensitive or historical because we are not experts in this field. That such an area does not have to be marked. They also informed us that other caches are being removed and we are not being told about it since it is considered litter per park rules. They said to spread the word.

This is from the Supervisor that signed the letter on our cache page for Peace,Espavo.

Yes, a sad day.

 

 

When I saw that Archive note on "Luckey Duckey 13," I was worried about something like this . . . :( Why were Geocachers blamed for what supposedly happened "near" that cache? Very sad! :)
What happened?

 

Who digs holes searching for Geocaches?!?!?!

 

Hmmm.... Have you looked at your Avatar lately???? :rolleyes::lol::lol:

 

2b6c8416-20c2-4fd8-9374-9742681c0401.jpg

 

Hey........ That hole was there when I got there......

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THEY MEAN ALL CACHES IN ANZA BORREGO! FROM THE PEAKS TO THE SIDE OF THE ROAD!

 

This cache has been removed. See below.

By order of the:

 

Superintendent

 

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

 

Colorado Desert District

 

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY

 

Numerous geocaches have been placed within the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park without authorization. No consideration was given to resource sensitivity in the placement of any of these geocaches, and many have been discovered in very sensitive locales. Caches have been removed from archeological sites, paleontological areas, bighorn sheep watering sites and in sensitive caves.

 

All physical geocaches placed within Anza-Borrego Desert State Park must be removed. If the cache owner does not take responsibility for removing his/her own cache, it will be removed for them and it will not be returned.

 

As of this date, December 21, 2007, placement of new physical caches will be prohibited in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Virtual Earth Caches will be considered on a case by case basis and must be approved before being published on the Geocaching.com website.

 

Contact information for Earth cache approval:

 

Mark C. Jorgensen

 

Superintendent

 

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

 

200 Palm Canyon Drive

 

Borrego Springs, CA 92004

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Our Peace, Espavo cache just got that notice and was removed. I wish we would have had notice and we would have removed it. That was a special cache that our family placed that was undisturbed since 2003! When we placed it we took care to look around and see that it was not near anything we thought was sensitive. Oh well. We were told that it wasn't about the cache placement per say, but just the fact that it was there and that the rules are that no physical caches are allowed!!! What??? We were also told that we have no way of knowing if an area is considered sensitive or historical because we are not experts in this field. That such an area does not have to be marked. They also informed us that other caches are being removed and we are not being told about it since it is considered litter per park rules. They said to spread the word. This is from the Supervisor that signed the letter on our cache page for Peace, Espavo. Yes, a sad day.
Yes, it is a sad day. :rolleyes:
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Yes this is a very sad day. But this is an opportunity to organize & collectively try to persuade the park to allow physical caches again. This seems like a fast & not well thought out decision by park officials. How many of us have used the Parks facilities & paid the fee's to access some of the areas & camp in their campgrounds. As Geocachers we are a large body & I believe we had made a more positive impact on the Park Lands than damage that has been done. Does the Park see that Geocachers have events & collect trash, & how many of us have picked up trash on our own as individuals. We should try to really hard to persuade the Park to allow Physical Caches. Maybe we will have to be a little more restrictive in where we would place them & have much stricter guidelines & a follow up on placements. In my opinion, the Park as made a hasty decision. Have they thought about financial impact, the follow up they will have to do to remove the hundreds of Caches in the park. And are we the only ones being singled out here. What about all the Peak Registers. If caches are considered litter then I would have to surmise that Peak Registers are too.

 

Just some ideas....

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...We were also told that we have no way of knowing if an area is considered sensitive or historical because we are not experts in this field. That such an area does not have to be marked....

 

The reality is you are not supposed to know. The general idea is that by not telling anyone vandals, treasure seekers etc. won't know either. The accepted side effect is that regular Joe's will recreate in and among such sites*. When that isn't acceptable then they will be marked or a ranger (or park equivilent) will talk to you directly.

 

It's also a fact that most all the park staff are not trained professionals either. Plus training in one area of specialization does not translate into the others. Someone trained in archaeology isn't trained in Historical Architecture and in turn they are not Experts in Wetlands, who in Turn are not Trained in Wildlife. Even the experts rely on experts. At best any one park staffer may be a generalist who knows the gist of things. They may be an expert (assuming the park has enough of a protected resource to justify an expert) in one thing and a generalist in others.

 

* The reason we trample these sites all the time..especially the archeological ones is that our ancestors lived, worked, and played in the same areas as we do now. Rivers, Fertile Agricultural areas, significant natural landmarks.

 

This all said the BLM approach is much more in line with the spirit and intent of the laws that keep these resources protected. They say nothing about them and allow caching as a casual use of the land. If there is a specific cache in a spot of conern they will contact that cache owner directly. The owner once aware will archive the cache and everthing is kept hush hush. The secret is preserved, caching goes on, everbody is happy.

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This all said the BLM approach is much more in line with the spirit and intent of the laws that keep these resources protected. They say nothing about them and allow caching as a casual use of the land. If there is a specific cache in a spot of concern they will contact that cache owner directly. The owner once aware will archive the cache and everything is kept hush hush. The secret is preserved, caching goes on, everbody is happy.
I like the way that the BLM manages its land. I think others could learn from the BLM. :rolleyes: Edited by TrailGators
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...We were also told that we have no way of knowing if an area is considered sensitive or historical because we are not experts in this field. That such an area does not have to be marked....

 

The reality is you are not supposed to know. The general idea is that by not telling anyone vandals, treasure seekers etc. won't know either. The accepted side effect is that regular Joe's will recreate in and among such sites*. When that isn't acceptable then they will be marked or a ranger (or park equivilent) will talk to you directly.

 

It's also a fact that most all the park staff are not trained professionals either. Plus training in one area of specialization does not translate into the others. Someone trained in archaeology isn't trained in Historical Architecture and in turn they are not Experts in Wetlands, who in Turn are not Trained in Wildlife. Even the experts rely on experts. At best any one park staffer may be a generalist who knows the gist of things. They may be an expert (assuming the park has enough of a protected resource to justify an expert) in one thing and a generalist in others.

 

* The reason we trample these sites all the time..especially the archeological ones is that our ancestors lived, worked, and played in the same areas as we do now. Rivers, Fertile Agricultural areas, significant natural landmarks.

 

This all said the BLM approach is much more in line with the spirit and intent of the laws that keep these resources protected. They say nothing about them and allow caching as a casual use of the land. If there is a specific cache in a spot of conern they will contact that cache owner directly. The owner once aware will archive the cache and everthing is kept hush hush. The secret is preserved, caching goes on, everbody is happy.

I think you've hit it on the head. The park is a complex environment. Even among park rangers, there is diversity in how they view their jobs and in their beliefs on the role the public plays in their stewardship of the park. I am a bit surprised that there wasn't an opportunity for public or private discussion prior to the superintendent issuing this policy. It might have occurred and I just didn't hear about it.

 

As for caches being litter -- we do not litter. Just the opposite, in fact. I pick up trash I find in the desert every trip I make and I know a lot of others who do that as well. The section of Hwy 78 we adopted is, in my opinion, the cleanest in the park. Geocaching has increased my love and respect for our local mountains, deserts, and coasts and I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that. Is there a 10% factor in our community who aren't conscientious? Maybe, but I think as a group geocachers are very active in supporting the preservation of our environment with our votes, our volunteer work, and our contributions.

 

It would appear that the regulation is a done deal, so it seems that the right thing to do would be for cache owners to go pick up their caches. We put them there and we should pick them up. The containers are no big loss, but the logs, coins, and TBs should be preserved. If anyone is going to a particular area, it would be a courtesy to contact other owners of caches in that area to see if they would like some help retrieving their caches. I go out to that area frequently, and would be happy to help cache owners.

 

A few photos of the area around your caches might come in handy later. We will need to work with the park officials to increase their understanding of this game we, and our families, all enjoy so much. I suggest we pick up our caches, take a deep breath, and then work out a plan to approach the park officials. From their policy, it appears that we would benefit from a better understanding of their concerns and, in return, we can provide them a better understanding of our sport of geocaching. Geocachers and regulatory agencies at other parks and preserve areas have come to a mutually beneficial agreement at the local and state levels. We can do that as well. In the meantime, BLM policies support responsible multi-use of land under their jurisdiction, including geocaching. There is a lot of BLM country out there ...

 

All things change.

 

Happy New Year!

Edited by M2
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Is the crew going through the Squeeze this weekend going to be picking up caches as they go through?

 

Minus well, before the Anzi Police get to them. :rolleyes:

 

How rude, they should at least give us a sporting chance to retrieve our 'liter'.

 

Let's start emailing them: anzaborrego@parks.ca.gov .

 

Incidentally, this California state park accepts cachers. Kinda ironic?

 

This State of California State Park newsletter is somewhat positive about geocaching.

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It is really too bad to hear about this policy change. All we can do now is pick up the pieces. I'm not sure how many of you are aware of this, but next year (summer) Groundspeak is going to be merging the Waymarking and Geocaching sites. What this will allow you to do is to add waywarks (virtuals) to your pocket queries. So many of those very cool spots in the desert could still be downloaded to your GPS, so you can still explore and find those cool spots. They aren't as fun as finding a hidden container and trading swag, but they still get you off the couch. There are some very cool Waymarking categories like Best Kept Secrets and New World Ancient Evidence. So maybe when you pick up the caches in those cool spots, you could keep them alive by creating a Waymarks for them. Just a thought....

Edited by TrailGators
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Is the crew going through the Squeeze this weekend going to be picking up caches as they go through?

 

Minus well, before the Anzi Police get to them. :rolleyes:

 

How rude, they should at least give us a sporting chance to retrieve our 'liter'.

 

Let's start emailing them: anzaborrego@parks.ca.gov .

 

Incidentally, this California state park accepts cachers. Kinda ironic?

 

This State of California State Park newsletter is somewhat positive about geocaching.

 

I personally feel that we should give AB a week or two to respond to our emails before removing all of our Geocaches, as this may have been a shoot from the hip reaction. If we all send very polite and courteous emails we should get a positive reaction were we can come to a happy medium.

Edited by Eric and Hill
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This all said the BLM approach is much more in line with the spirit and intent of the laws that keep these resources protected. They say nothing about them and allow caching as a casual use of the land. If there is a specific cache in a spot of concern they will contact that cache owner directly. The owner once aware will archive the cache and everything is kept hush hush. The secret is preserved, caching goes on, everbody is happy.
I like the way that the BLM manages its land. I think others could learn from the BLM. :rolleyes:

 

 

 

I'm glad 98% of my Caches are on BLM land or the Off Road State Park area. :(

 

This does seem kind of extreme, I guess they don't like folks to visit the area/ less work for them then.

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Is the crew going through the Squeeze this weekend going to be picking up caches as they go through?

 

Minus well, before the Anzi Police get to them. :rolleyes:

 

How rude, they should at least give us a sporting chance to retrieve our 'liter'.

 

Let's start emailing them: anzaborrego@parks.ca.gov .

 

Incidentally, this California state park accepts cachers. Kinda ironic?

 

This State of California State Park newsletter is somewhat positive about geocaching.

 

I personally feel that we should give AB a week or two to respond to our emails before removing all of our Geocaches, as this may have been a shoot from the hip reaction. If we all send very polite and courteous emails we should get a positive reaction were we can come to a happy medium.

 

This situation is NOT a 'shoot from the hip reaction' from ABSP. We invited them to come and talk to us about caching in the park over 4 years ago at the 2nd Annual Campout in Blair Valley. Notaranger showed up to talk with us. We explained everything about caching to her, but it pretty much fell on deaf ears. Her mind was made up, geocaching was harming the environment, etc. even tho we agreed to place caches as she suggested. Bottom line, she was rude and close minded to all of us. Letters were written to the park superintendent, and cachers that are volunteers in this park spoke in our behalf. Nothing came of that, and now she has accomplished her mission. That is from first hand experience from us and all of those attending the campout, as well as an Admin. who tried to work with her. We, as geocachers, have always had the utmost respect for the land, but some people only see what they want to see.

 

The Splashes

 

 

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Is the crew going through the Squeeze this weekend going to be picking up caches as they go through?

 

Minus well, before the Anzi Police get to them. :rolleyes:

 

How rude, they should at least give us a sporting chance to retrieve our 'liter'.

 

Let's start emailing them: anzaborrego@parks.ca.gov .

 

Incidentally, this California state park accepts cachers. Kinda ironic?

 

This State of California State Park newsletter is somewhat positive about geocaching.

 

I personally feel that we should give AB a week or two to respond to our emails before removing all of our Geocaches, as this may have been a shoot from the hip reaction. If we all send very polite and courteous emails we should get a positive reaction were we can come to a happy medium.

 

This situation is NOT a 'shoot from the hip reaction' from ABSP. We invited them to come and talk to us about caching in the park over 4 years ago at the 2nd Annual Campout in Blair Valley. Notaranger showed up to talk with us. We explained everything about caching to her, but it pretty much fell on deaf ears. Her mind was made up, geocaching was harming the environment, etc. even tho we agreed to place caches as she suggested. Bottom line, she was rude and close minded to all of us. Letters were written to the park superintendent, and cachers that are volunteers in this park spoke in our behalf. Nothing came of that, and now she has accomplished her mission. That is from first hand experience from us and all of those attending the campout, as well as an Admin. who tried to work with her. We, as geocachers, have always had the utmost respect for the land, but some people only see what they want to see.

 

The Splashes

Bummer . . . I'm sorry to learn that . . . :lol: I guess I'll have to send my email to someone higher up in the chain of command. Anyone know anyone who works for the Governor who is also a Geocacher . . . ? :)

 

After all, it is Anza Borrego Desert State Park, not Anza Borrego Desert State Preserve! :(

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I removed one of my caches today and will remove the other two in the next couple of days. The Superintent has been against this for quite some time now and has no intention of changing his mind. I have had more discussions with staff lately that I care to. I also checked two caches that were right on the edge of the road and found both missing. I was told today that if a cache is found it will be removed so if anyone needs theirs removed and can't make it up let me know. I am currently without 4x4 but will attempt to get to any that need to be removed.

Edited by fossillady
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I removed one of my caches today and will remove the other two in the next couple of days. The Superintent has been against this for quite some time now and has no intention of changing his mind. I have had more discussions with staff lately that I care to. I also checked two caches that were right on the edge of the road and found both missing. I was told today that if a cache is found it will be removed so if anyone needs theirs removed and can't make it up let me know. I am currently without 4x4 but will attempt to get to any that need to be removed.
It might be wise to archive these caches to get them off the site, so the rangers can't pull them up on GC's maps. That might give people more time to retrieve their caches before they get taken. It does seem very rude not to give people at least 30 days to get their caches. What's another 30 days when it has been years? Edited by TrailGators
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After all, it is Anza Borrego Desert State Park, not Anza Borrego Desert State Preserve! B)

Good point. I may make that my last sentence when I send an email.

 

I haven't checked the park webpage for official boundaries of the park. Anyone able to provide a good map and/or coords to the park boundaries?

 

Lets focus on those caches with TB and coins

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Look at page 3 of the Volunteers Newsletter that was linked on the main Anza Borrego State Park Website. Since when does litter have an owner that watches over it and maintains it?

 

Just pulling caches without any kind of notification is a bad idea. SDRP did this early on before they adopted their geocaching policy. It causes more damage than anything because then you get folks searching for caches that are not there.

 

I hope that someone comes to their senses on this whole thing. My guess is the someone showed the Superintendent a map of the geocaches in the park and he/she was unaware of the number and had a knee jerk reaction to it.

 

RM

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We just archived all 10 of our caches in ABSP. Kind of sad since alot of them have been there since '03 and '04. Hopefully, that will give us some breathing room until we can pick them up.

It's actually hard to believe that we had to do that!

 

The Splashes B)B)

 

I just archived my caches in the CITO area. I will get them this morning since it will be awile before I get back. B)B)

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After all, it is Anza Borrego Desert State Park, not Anza Borrego Desert State Preserve! B)

Good point. I may make that my last sentence when I send an email.

 

I haven't checked the park webpage for official boundaries of the park. Anyone able to provide a good map and/or coords to the park boundaries?

 

Lets focus on those caches with TB and coins

 

Well ThePolarbear and I, and hopfully a few others will be doing the Trestle caches and the Jacumba caches coming up on the 18th-20th of January. I will be contacting those people to find out if they want us to remove them or not. This whole this is very upsetting and tis a sad day for Geocaching. B)B)B)B)B):D

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This is really horrible news. Some of my best ever caching days have been in Anza Borrego. And I know that my geocaching visits cause way less impact than the activities of most non-geocaching visitors I've passed when I'm there.

 

Anyone know of any geocachers who are members or make donations to the Anza Borrego Foundation that helps raise money to buy up land to grow the park? If a head on approach hasn't gotten the park administration to see reason, maybe we need to come in from the side?

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We are going out to the Salton Sea on Saturday (neither of us has ever been there B) ) and will be taking S22 (Montezuma/Salton Sea Way). I've loaded all cache along the route within .5 miles of the road. If anyone owns a cache along this route and wants us to pick up the container, let us know.

Edited by Snake & Rooster
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I'm glad 98% of my Caches are on BLM land or the Off Road State Park area.

 

I'm not sure I would take anything for granted....

 

Emergency Moratorium at Fort Ord BLM in Central CA

 

Even the BLM has some concerns in some areas about Geocaching B) In our area (Central California), we've been struggling with implementing a more relaxed policy with the BLM without much success.

 

Anyone know of any geocachers who are members or make donations to the Anza Borrego Foundation that helps raise money to buy up land to grow the park?

 

I actually suggested something along these lines on our local Forums (thegba.net), but was met with a rather frosty reception to the idea. The day may quickly be approaching that the Geocaching Community may have to flex its considerable financial muscle and form a Foundation similar to the Nature Conservancy or the rock climbing community equivalent, the Access Fund.

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... I am a bit surprised that there wasn't an opportunity for public or private discussion prior to the superintendent issuing this policy. It might have occurred and I just didn't hear about it.

 

As for caches being litter -- we do not litter. Just the opposite, in fact. I pick up trash I find in the desert every trip I make and I know a lot of others who do that as well. The section of Hwy 78 we adopted is, in my opinion, the cleanest in the park. Geocaching has increased my love and respect for our local mountains, deserts, and coasts and I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that....

 

I posted a comment yesterday but it vaporized between hitting send and hitting the forum. Work Server...

 

I agree. Caches are not litter. They have not fit any litter law I have ever read. Abandoned property is another thing. Those laws are broad enough to cover caches and I haven't ready one yet that didn't. While it depends on the wording of the CA laws that apply odds are they cover it. A land manager could invoke those laws to create a defacto ban on caching and since it's an existing law there is no legal need for public comment. A new policy would probably kick in the laws on hearings and the like. I find it hard to find the comment period and location for things I'm interested in and know about let alone the things that I would be interested but don't know about. It's tough tracking everthing.

 

You hit the nail on the head when it comes to CITO.

 

Edit: Abandoned propety laws normally have a provision for the public to reclaim their property. If that's the authority they are standing on to remove caches (litter normally doesn't fit and could be challenged) cachers should be able to get their caches back or recover the costs of the TB etc for the improper disposal of the abandoned property. If they choose to chase it down anyway. Someone will have to dig up the laws though. It's all in the wording.

Edited by Renegade Knight
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Wow!! B) I am leaving tomorrow for the Split Canyon Area. I've set up a majority of the earthcaches (prior to the approval requirement) in the area and have been researchig more. I guess I won't be finding as many traditionals as I was expecting. B)

 

Some how I don't think they will be approving some of the earthcaches I had planned if they are being so sensitive.

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We invited them to come and talk to us about caching in the park over 4 years ago at the 2nd Annual Campout in Blair Valley. Notaranger showed up to talk with us. We explained everything about caching to her, but it pretty much fell on deaf ears. Her mind was made up, geocaching was harming the environment, etc. even tho we agreed to place caches as she suggested. Bottom line, she was rude and close minded to all of us.

 

Frankly, I think talking to these people is just shooting ourselves in the collective feet. Things go much better when we just keep our mouths shut.

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We have changed our plans to go to Utah and are on our way to the desert instead. Without the kids we can move a lot faster. We'll be base camping somewhere different every night so we'll be moving around. We'll be out there until Tuesday picking up our caches. Let us know if any of our are near any of yours and we'll get them for you. Give us a call if anyone has any thoughts for hikes etc. for meeting up to get these. We'll be at the Squeeze event tomorrow.

Tim and Shilona

 

Has the idea of making all the ABDSP caches Members only caches been suggested to the PTB. The theory would go that paying cachers are more likely to be respectful of park.

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I was sort of hoping that we would have a chance to work something out with the Rangers before this issue hit the forums and created the stir that was eventually inevitable. Too late for that now. But be advised that I have been working with the staff at GC.com to respond to this announcement and I have exchanged e-mail correspondence with Mr. Jorgensen. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss more specifics of the dialog that has been opened. -MR

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I was sort of hoping that we would have a chance to work something out with the Rangers before this issue hit the forums and created the stir that was eventually inevitable. Too late for that now. But be advised that I have been working with the staff at GC.com to respond to this announcement and I have exchanged e-mail correspondence with Mr. Jorgensen. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss more specifics of the dialog that has been opened. -MR

 

Any suggestions as to what to do in the meantime with our caches? Disable/archive/just sit tight?

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I was sort of hoping that we would have a chance to work something out with the Rangers before this issue hit the forums and created the stir that was eventually inevitable. Too late for that now. But be advised that I have been working with the staff at GC.com to respond to this announcement and I have exchanged e-mail correspondence with Mr. Jorgensen. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss more specifics of the dialog that has been opened. -MR

 

Any suggestions as to what to do in the meantime with our caches? Disable/archive/just sit tight?

Unfortunately, it appears that some caches have already been removed and we have not gotten any confirmation that the Rangers have stopped the process of removing and disposing of caches. I have asked for a reasonable period of time to discuss options and, if necessary, for cache owners to retrieve their caches, but there has been no direct response to this request as of yet. To answer the specific question, I have no particular suggestion or recommendation. You need to do what you feel is appropriate. My two e-mails and Mr. Jorgensen's response are posted, below. -MR

 

12/21/07

 

Mr. Jorgensen:

 

I am the volunteer cache reviewer for Southern California. The below notice has come to my attention. Can you please contact me to discuss. Each and every geocache that has been approved in the last 4 years or so has required the cache owner to confirm that the special guidelines of ABDSP have been met. The vast majority of people engaging in the sport are extremely sensitive to the environment. This is shown, in part, by the annual desert cleanup event we host every year in October. As a result of our activities, many people have been drawn to the desert who would never have been introduced to its beauty, myself included. We truly don't believe the sport deserves to be banned in the Park, and would greatly appreciate a dialog to understand how to address your concerns.

 

Thank you,

<name>

 

12/27/07

 

Mr. Jorgensen:

 

I have not received any response to my December 21 e-mail to you, and I have heard from various geocachers that you have begun to remove and dispose of their caches. This seems to be a very drastic response to an activity that has received at least the color of official approval since 2003 when Heather Thomson provided the attached Guidelines for geocachers to follow. These special ABDSP Guidelines have been confirmed by each cacher who has sought to have a cache in ABDSP listed on the GC.com website since as early as 2003. Any cache that your staff has asked to be removed has been immediately archived with instructions to the cache owner to remove the cache container. Geocaching has proven to be a friendly partner to land managers across the United States and wishes to work with your staff to address any concerns you might have. There are many ways in which land managers have addressed concerns, such as creating a permit process (with or without fees) to ensure that sensitive areas are not negatively impacted.

 

The courtesy of a response would be greatly appreciated. At the very least, we would ask that you allow some reasonable period of time for geocachers to remove their caches from the park rather than having you treat them as trash.

 

<name>

Volunteer Cache Reviewer

 

12/27/07:

 

Mr. <name>:

 

We have been removing geocaches from Anza-Borrego Desert State Park for years, so this is not a recent event.

 

Anza-Borrego, with its 600,000 acres of Park and 460,000 acres of State Wilderness within the Park, operates under much of the same philosophy and guidelines as a National Park. I was informed by a concerned geocacher this morning by phone that she thinks there are over 5,000 geocaches within Anza-Borrego. Not a single one has been approved, nor have any official requests ever been received by my office to place geocaches within the Park.

 

I feel strongly that the concept of “virtual geocaches” should be pursued by geocachers and that the placement of ammo cans and Tupperware boxes should be curtailed within park areas. Geocaches have been discovered within archeological sites, at critical water sources for bighorn sheep, within natural caves, within rich paleontological areas and in historical homestead sites. I disagree with the comment in your message that you feel our removal of caches is a “very drastic response”.

 

This is a premier State Park of very high wilderness qualities. My staff and I are dedicated to passing this park on in good shape to future generations, with the help and support of you and the millions of other citizens of California.

 

Sincerely,

 

Mark Jorgensen

Superintendent

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

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I was informed by a concerned geocacher this morning by phone that she thinks there are over 5,000 geocaches within Anza-Borrego. Not a single one has been approved, nor have any official requests ever been received by my office to place geocaches within the Park.
Is this a straw that broke the camel's back issue? The "concerned cacher" that called the ranger said there were "over 5,000 geocaches within Anza-Borrego." This sounds way too high to me...
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I have archived my three caches that I placed out there and will be camping out in the desert this week-end starting with the Indian Forks area and then a drive north "OUT OF THE PARK" to the north end of Salton Sea to do some caching up that way near the Ladder/Painted Canyon area. If anyone wants their caches recovered and think I might go near them, let me know and I will pick them up and store them at my house until you have time to get them.

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I did I quick count of cache from my house in the middle of the "park" and came up with less that 200. Of course several have already been archived. I counted as far south as Blair Valley I am not familiar enough to count the ones in the extreme southern part of the park. This number is not even close to 1000 let alone 5000. Yes, the rangers have been removing caches whenever they find them and know staff has been instructed to do the same.

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I archived my last ABDSP Geocache today. Too bad.... I know many people had fun scrambling up to get it. It seems the Park service is over-reacting to a perceived problem. The caches that they deemed inappropriate should have been dealt with on their individual issues. I'm sure the numbers in violation were few.

 

Following are some thoughts.

 

How much harm has the pursuit of finding and signing peak baggers logs caused to the terrain or trails leading to the top of our California peaks?

 

Probably not measurable due to the fact that peak baggers by nature do love the outdoors and the freedom to explore it. They appreciate the gift of nature and have no reason to harm her.

 

The mountain ridges do gain some faint hints of trails in the non rocky sections. Some of the trails are remnants from our ancient relatives.

 

Just by the difficult nature of the effort it take to get to remote places keeps out the undesirable folk who have no respect for our land and would spray paint the rocks and throw bottles and trash everywhere. Remoteness has its advantages.

 

How much terrain has been harmed by Geocachers in pursuit of finding and signing their logs?

 

Probably not measurable due to the fact that geocachers by nature do love the outdoors and the freedom to explore it. They appreciate the gift of nature and have no reason to harm her.

 

Sometimes a faint trail will occur due to the Geocaching traffic.

There are faint trails all over the desert leading to points of interest or just leading from one area to another. Animals leave trails everywhere in the desert.

Cache placement within a few feet of an existing trail or sand wash is desirable, but not always possible.

 

Remote terrain is harmed less than easily accessed terrain. This is caused by two reasons:

 

Remote caches tend to be accessed by more serious outdoorsmen who take better care of the land than some weekend warriors.

 

The physical challenge keeps traffic down to a few visits per year.

 

Easily accessed sites tend to be visited by city folks who my not appreciate what an asset our beautiful desert is. They may not understand proper trail etiquette and trample plants or cut switchbacks. They may toss wrappers on the ground or carve graffiti into plants or damage structure. Vehicles are driven off of established roads etc.

This kind of damage would be rarely caused by a typical Geocacher because:

 

Geocachers are typically mature adults or cache as families.

 

Geocachers belong to a community sharing the common pastime of Geocaching. The more experienced cachers educate the newer folks on low impact techniques for placement and finding of caches.

 

Geocachers are active outdoors people who want to cast a positive light on their activity. Many cachers are involved in cleanup and trail building projects.

 

Geocachers are not bored and in need of trashing anything to get their jollies.

 

Most geocachers have other outdoor pursuits such as hiking and backpacking which tie in with caching.

 

Many desert points of interest are fragile and need protection

An ancient native village for example is a popular spot to visit. One can wander through large rock slabs dimpled by our ancestor’s activities grinding food. Pottery chards can be seen lying about. You can imagine what it must have been like to live in such a harsh environment. How should we protect this site? Should we vacuum seal it and only allow archeologists to visit? I would hope I could experience this place with my children or friends and walk through the rocks and climb about. Nothing is damaged by our visit, take nothing but memories, leave nothing, suck in the feeling this place communicates to your soul. You walk a few feet away amongst the rocks and find a Geocache container, sign the log, replace it and walk away thankful that the cache gave you reason to know that this place existed and you were lucky enough to visit it. Did the caches existence in any way harm this site? Not a chance. Did the presence of the cache diminish another visitor’s experience? Not a chance. Did the cache bring in undesirables who would do harm to the site? I do not know one cacher who would harm any land.

 

Some archaeological evidence in the area is so fragile that public knowledge of its existence would surly lead to its destruction.

I have to say I am against the advertising of the find by placing a Geocache in the area. The risk of harm is too great.

 

Animal watering areas access is vital for the wildlife, especially in the summer months.

People do visit these sites, but too many people could cause the wildlife to avoid the area all together or be stressed. Geocachers numbers are insignificant compared to the general public to be of concern in 2008, but in the future the activity could grow to the point of concern. I would be against installing caches in these areas.

 

A case by case approval should be implemented by the park service. Realistic evaluation as to the real risk to the site should be used, not just arbitrary over protection of every square inch of the land. This land belongs to the American people and our future generations, and should be experienced, not placed in a vacuum wrapper where we can’t touch feel and smell it.

 

Physical cache more harmful than virtual cache?

 

Is the container the real problem here? I think not. How does a container harm any delicate land, plant or structure? The traffic to an area is controlled by the cache, not what type it is. Once they ban physical caches it is an easy argument to say all caches are harmful. This is just a ploy to make us think they are willing to give us something. I would rather find a virtual cache than no cache, but what about the kids? They want to find a real cache to be interested. The impact of going a few feet off trail to hide a container is not going to ruin the desert when a little common sense is used in the placement. In some areas footprints can last for decades, and others they only last until the wind blows.

 

Question

Is it illegal to be in ABDSP and just pick a mountain and climb it if there is no trail?

If so, there are a lot of law breakers out there every weekend, and they aren’t the criminal types either!

Just nature buffs doing what they love. Have they harmed the mountains? Not in the last several thousand years.

 

We have a right to explore this land. It is OUR Park. The park administrators need to understand that Geocaching will cause no harm if implemented with a “work with them” attitude in stead of a “hard line no way no how” policy.

 

Bob Dylan once said… “Don’t criticize what you can’t understand”. Let’s hope we can get some understanding from the park service.

 

I’m sure as a group, we can do the right thing to protect our land and still seek caches at beautiful spots around ABDSP.

 

Sorry for rambling!

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